4. Norman, OK
To those who grew up in either the east or west coasts of the US, Norman can be something of a hidden gem.
Home to the University of Oklahoma School of Music, this city is bustling with active musical culture attractive to music majors interested in a diverse array of activities.
To start, the Norman Music Festival is one of the country’s great music festivals; established in 2008, the festival is attended by tens of thousands of concertgoers seeking music of various contemporary genres. The festival’s impact on the city’s economy is tangible, with some reports estimating that the revenue brought into the town exceeds $2,000,000 just because of the festival.
In the city’s Andrews Park is an annual festival known as Groovefest, held once a year every September in an effort to promote human rights activism. The festival has been around for 30 years, established in 1986.
One of the foremost jazz festivals in the southern United States, Jazz In June, features jazz and blues artists to the tune of over 50,000+ concertgoers every year. Music majors of the University of Oklahoma have participated this historic festival.
Other festivals including regional and local musicians include the Norman Medieval Fair, an event fraught with medieval-era cultural themes, and the Midsummer Nights’ Fair, an all-encompassing arts festival held for two evenings every June.
Although not a fully professional classical orchestra, Norman is home to the Norman Philharmonic, which stages a few classical music concerts every year at various venues throughout Norman.
Norman is home to a large number of venues hosting live music performances, including Opolis, The Deli, Riverwind (a casino), The Red Brick Bar, The Red Room, and The Dope Chapel.
The University of Oklahoma itself is home to a number of excellent music programs, musical theatre being among the most notable.
The school’s Catlett Music Center is the focal point for student music majors at the University of Oklahoma. The exceptionally impressive facility houses a concert hall, a percussion suite consisting of several rehearsal rooms, a concert organ, rehearsal rooms, a lobby that doubly serves as a performance space, and more.
It is among the finest facilities built at any music school in the last 20 years.
Additionally, I would be remiss to not mention the legendary Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, an art museum located on the campus of the University of Oklahoma that houses the largest collection of impressionist pieces in the world. Musicians sometimes perform in the museum.
Notable Music Schools In Norman, OK: The University of Oklahoma School of Music
3. Madison, WI
Madison arguably has one of the strongest scenes for music in the entire country, as well as a fantastic school for music, making the city ideal for music majors.
For starters, the rock, indie, folk, and latin scene in Madison is very strong, with a number of venues to show for it.
Some of these venues include Frequency, Harmony Bar, The Great Dane, The Alchemy, High Noon Saloon, The Brink Lounge, The Red Zone Madison, and the historic Majestic Theatre. No matter where you turn in Madison, there is seemingly always a venue to experience live music from local, regional, and nationally-touring acts.
The classical music scene is very strong in Madison; it is home to the Madison Symphony Orchestra, a fully professional orchestra staging about a dozen or so events every year.
One of the great chamber ensembles of the midwest, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, also calls Madison its home.
The sense of community in Madison has a significant impact on the music scene, which is of benefit to music majors who wish to integrate themselves within the city’s cultural activity.
One of the biggest attractions of Madison for both music majors and concertgoers alike is the sheer number of music festivals the city has. The Willy St. Fair hosts five stages of genre-diverse musicianship; the Waterfront Festival, which moved to Madison from Florida in 2004, features local folk, blues, and rock acts; the Orton Fest, 50 years old, showcases music across spectra of genre.
The city is also home to the Isthmus Jazz Festival, one of the midwest’s most prominent celebrations of jazz.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music is widely considered among the finer institutions for collegiate music study in the midwest. Between the city’s festivities and the school’s 100s of public performances every year, music majors are inundated with opportunity in this historic college town.
Notable Music Schools In Madison: University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music